More incentives to live near parents

STRESSING the importance of family ties as the bedrock of a strong society, the Government yesterday rolled out two new initiatives to encourage married children to live with their parents or near them in housing estates.

The first is to strengthen the Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS) to give higher ballot chances to married children who apply to live with their parents in a new HDB flat.

The second, known as the Multi-Generation Priority Scheme (MGPS), allows married couples and their parents to buy a flat with a nearby studio apartment or two-room flat. This allows both parties to be close together while still according each a measure of privacy.

Announcing these schemes in Parliament yesterday, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that many Singaporean families want to live together, or at least near to one another.

‘This forges strong families, besides making a lot of practical sense. Grandparents help to look after their grandchildren… Children set good examples of filial piety.

‘These are strong values which we must inculcate,’ he added.

Under current MCPS rules, a married couple buying a flat for the first time will have four ballot chances, and a second- timer two chances, if they want to reside with, or within 2km of, their parents.

The new rules, which take effect from this month’s launch of new Build-to-Order (BTO) flats, will see the ballot chances for a first-timer couple increase to six chances and a second-timer three chances, if they live with their parents in their new flat.

The new MGPS was introduced in response to MPs’ suggestions that the HDB build more integrated flats to encourage family bonding.

The scheme was piloted at SkyTerrace@Dawson, where a larger flat was paired with an adjoining studio apartment, allowing extended families to live next to each other.

Mr Khaw said HDB will launch 250 pairs of such flats in various estates this year, starting with the Bedok BTO project in March.

It will launch more if the scheme proves to be popular.

Given that the elderly parents of married children tend to live in mature HDB estates, Mr Khaw said his ministry will build more new BTO flats in these locations so that the young and old can more fully take advantage of the new schemes introduced.

‘This year, there will be BTO launches in Bedok, Kallang, Whampoa and Geylang,’ said the minister.

‘Indeed, 30 per cent of BTO flats to be launched this year will be in mature estates.’

HDB is expected to roll out some 25,000 new flats this year.

Flats in mature estates are normally more sought after, as they come with amenities like schools and shops, and good transport links.

Applicants under the MGPS will have priority over others, as they will have the first dibs on choosing a flat nearby.

Source: The Straits Times – 3 March 2012

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